UK, Dutch Diplomats Meeting with Pakistan over Afghan Diplomacy

September 02, 2021

British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab is scheduled to arrive in Islamabad on Thursday to analyze the Afghan situation, while Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi hosted his Dutch counterpart and spoke with Canada’s foreign minister on Wednesday as part of Pakistan’s strategic efforts to gain help for the incoming Kabul government.

The top British diplomat will also seek Pakistan’s assistance in evacuating the surviving British citizens believed to be in Afghanistan. According to reports, the head of MI6 recently paid a peaceful visit to Pakistan and met with the army chief.

Pakistan views the visits of key country foreign ministers as a chance to share its viewpoint on Afghanistan and the way forward. Pakistan’s message is clear: it is not the time to leave Afghanistan alone. During his meeting with Dutch Foreign Minister Sigrid Kaad, Qureshi restated Pakistan’s position in favor of an open and accepting and wider government in Afghanistan. Qureshi stated at the joint press conference that the international community must not give up the Afghan Taliban.

Qureshi emphasized on the continuation of humanitarian and economic aid to Afghanistan. He believed that abandoning Afghanistan alone would be disastrous, and he tried to warn that the world must not repeat the mistakes of the past. Qureshi told reporters, “We believe that a peaceful Afghanistan, with the protection of the Afghan people and an integrated political solution is essential”. He added, “At this crucial moment, our support and solidarity with the people of Afghanistan is critical”.

The Dutch foreign minister expressed gratitude to Pakistan for sponsoring huge amounts of Afghan refugees for more than four decades. She stated that the European foreign ministers would meet on Friday to describe Afghanistan strategy. Qureshi stated that he also addressed with Kaad bilateral and EU collaboration between Pakistan and the Netherlands. “We acknowledge the Dutch government’s constant support for our GSP-Plus status. Our increased bilateral trade is significant, as The Netherlands is Pakistan’s second largest export destination within the EU,” he said.

During the talks, Qureshi emphasized the importance of reaching an inclusive political solution in Afghanistan and prompted the international community to actively engage in helping Afghanistan return to a path of development and flourishing after four decades of conflict.

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